Researchers Debunk Belief That Food Allergies May Be Hereditary

A recent study challenged the idea that children inherit food allergies from their parents. The experiment revolved around 2,500 parents, residing in Chicago, whose children had food allergies.

Nearly 14 percent of those who participated professed that they have had a food allergy as well. However, only 28 percent of them had suffered from a true allergy, according to U.S. News.

Furthermore, only 20 percent of the parents who reported allergies to common food like wheat, fish, egg or milk actually suffer from them. Meanwhile, only 56 percent of the parents, who allegedly have peanut allergies, tested positive.

In an interview recently conducted with Dr. Melanie Makhija, the co-lead author of the research, the participants assumed that they are allergic to a particular kind of food when they have had a previous reaction, or if they have not been properly tested. These factors end up giving the participants the impression that they suffer from a specific type of food allergy.

It is possible that these parents did suffer from alleged food allergies at a younger age, according to the researchers, and the initial shock embedded the idea that they still do, even after the allergies dissipate, according to Live Science. Also, it was determined that 14 percent of the parents who reported that they do not suffer from food allergy actually tested positive for peanut and sesame allergy.

Two types of allergy tests were conducted for this research: the skin-prick test, in which the skin is pierced and examined if any type of reaction would occur if a substance is placed on it, and a blood test, which investigates for antibodies to specific substances.

The study was recently published in a journal entitled Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology by Dr. Melanie Makhija and Dr. Rachel Robison from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

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